In April, Sue Langley and The Langley Group team were invited by the Happiness and Its Causes team to participate in a special event: An Afternoon with Martin Seligman.  The event started with a keynote presentation by Dr Seligman, followed by an interview and Q&A session, hosted by Sue.

Over 200 people turned up at the ICC in Darling Harbour to listen to the father of modern Positive Psychology talk about his “Journey from Helplessness to Optimism”, and have their chance to ask him their burning questions on positive psychology, wellbeing, and much more.

As an exclusive, the Langley Group are excited to be sharing the insightful conversation Martin had, after his keynote presentation, with our CEO Sue Langley, and then the relevant and necessary questions asked by the audience that revealed the deep insights into Martin’s life and mind, that no other event has achieved.

What are three things that you are grateful for?


What three things are you grateful for?


Well the first thing that comes to mind actually is Mandy. A lot of positive psychology began with her… Beth and I talked about a possibility of actually bringing Mandy on stage and actually having this conversation with Mandy but we decided that would upset all of you…

So we didn’t do it, but, I’ve been lucky enough to have a second marriage, and five kids, out of which positive psychology came, so Mandy 30 years ago when we were courting said “Are you happy?” And I said what a nonsensical question that is …and she kept at it and in many ways ‘positive psychology’, so that’s the first thing.

The second thing is, ‘prosperity’, that I think we’re the beneficiaries of enormous prosperity, of human progress, without which we wouldn’t be sitting here, having this conversation and none of positive psychology would make sense.

And I think the third thing I am grateful for… I’ll just tell the end of the dream I had recently. So I had been at a conference on positive education and I was going up to my apartment and there was lot of first class mail, so much that I couldn’t carry it. There were all these people (around me), positive psychologists, people like you, who have done so much in the world, to increase wellbeing using these principles. And they said “we’ll help you carry the mail upstairs”, and I (have) had this so much of my life. I’ve been like those caryatids in the Parthenon, sort of holding up the roof and in this dream I felt for the first time I could just let go! And this is something that better people than I are not carrying on.

“So Mandy, prosperity and that this (Positive Psychology) isn’t a fad that we are dealing with; that the notion of human wellbeing has legs and it’s got people like you, who are taking it to new places where it’s never been.”

Martin Seligman’s latest book ‘The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism’ is available in our online shop – find out more here.

To watch more of Sue’s interview with Martin Seligman join Learn with Sue as well as access to eBooks on topics such as 7 Ways to Apply Positive Psychology, 10 Brain Friendly Habits and How to Lead with the Brain at Work. Plus a range of tools to help yourself and others including questionnaires, values cards, posters and more.